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Live from First Niagara Center: Rangers at Sabres

Penguins postponed tonight in Boston, Sabres' game Saturday in Pittsburgh moved to Tuesday

By Mike Harrington

Because of today's events surrounding the manhunt in Boston, the National Hockey League has postponed tonight's Penguins-Bruins game at TD Garden and will try to play it tomorrow at 12:30.

The change has a big impact on the Sabres because they were scheduled to play the Penguins tomorrow night in Consol Energy Center. That game, however, has been moved to Tuesday at 7:30.

So the Sabres will now play two straight home games -- tonight against the New York Rangers and Monday against Winnipeg -- against teams directly above them in the standings. For those who live outside Buffalo, the NHL Network has picked up the telecast of tonight's Sabres-Rangers game in place of the Bruins-Penguins match. Locally, the Sabres game will air on MSG as usual.

Continue reading "Penguins postponed tonight in Boston, Sabres' game Saturday in Pittsburgh moved to Tuesday" »

Fourth straight win a virtual must for playoff hopes

By Mike Harrington

The Sabres are on their fourth three-game winning streak of the season -- all of which have come under interim coach Ron Rolston. They've yet to get win No. 4 for any of those streaks, and they need to do it tonight to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

The New York Rangers are in town, with the Sabres desperately needing a regulation win because they're four points behind the Rangers in the race for eighth place in the East and the Blueshirts have a game in hand.

The Sabres' hope will be left dangling by a thread if they get one point; officially in but with basically no hope. They will be officially out of the playoffs for the fourth time in six years if they lose in regulation tonight. They got zero help last night out of town, so their only hope basically comes down to the Sabres running the table in their last four games to finish at 52 points and holding on to the slim hope that will be enough.

"It starts with us winning," said winger Drew Stafford. "If we're not winning games, it doesn't matter what other teams are going to do. They'll help us maybe, but it starts with us getting the two points and making sure we're doing our job."

Continue reading "Fourth straight win a virtual must for playoff hopes" »

Amerks making return to Spengler Cup, prestigious Swiss tournament

By John Vogl

The Rochester Americans will head to Switzerland next season to compete in the prestigious Spengler Cup, a four-team tournament that featured Jason Pominville- and Jochen Hecht-led Adler Mannheim this season.

The Amerks competed in the tournament in 1996 and are the only professional hockey team from North America to take part.

"The Rochester Americans are extremely honored to have been selected to play in the 2013 Spengler Cup and represent the American Hockey League,” Americans and Sabres President Ted Black said in a statement. “This is a truly unique opportunity that will provide an incredibly valuable experience for our players.

Continue reading "Amerks making return to Spengler Cup, prestigious Swiss tournament" »

No help, almost no hope

By Mike Harrington

The Sabres needed to get a few breaks out of town Thursday night in advance of Friday's visit by the Rangers. They got absolutely none of them.

1). The Rangers killed the pathetic Panthers, 6-1
2). The Islanders won in Toronto, 5-3
3). The Jets survived a late tying goal to beat Carolina in overtime, 4-3
4). The Senators ended the Capitals' eight-game win streak with a 3-1 win.

The Sabres have 44 points with four games left and the best they can do is 52. And they lose a tiebreaker with any teams. So here's a look at the standings:  

7. NYI 51 pts, 4 games left
8. NYR 48 pts, 5 games left 
---
9. WPG 48 pts, 4 games left
10. BUF 44 pts, 4 games left
11. NJD 42 pts, 5 games left 

It comes down to this: A regulation loss to the Rangers cooks the Sabres, leaving them with a maximum of 50 points and no tiebreakers to survive on. Just win. All four games. Then see what happens.

Team still in awe after emotional night in Beantown

Silence
The Boston Marathon memorial ribbon is on the scoreboard and the ice during a moment of silence Wednesday in TD Garden. (Getty Images)


By Mike Harrington

The Sabres got a huge win last night in Boston and are still alive in the playoff race with the New York Rangers coming to town Friday (after hosting the Florida Panthers tonight in Madison Square Garden).

The team had a brief, 20-minute workout today in Amherst and will fully turn to the Rangers in video sessions and their pregame skate Friday morning. But it was basically impossible today to not reflect on last night's emotional shootout win over the Bruins, an event that is the talk of the nation and far transcends sports in the wake of the bombings at the Boston Marathon.

"It was probably the most emotional game I've ever been a part of for so many reasons," said Steve Ott. "The way the Boston fans and community with what they've been going through, it's obviously been a horrific 2-3 days now. For them to come out there and cheer and put some smiles on their faces for a couple hours is the least we could do to try to battle for the fans and show the pride of both teams."

"I had chills just looking around," Lynnfield, Mass., native Brian Flynn said of the fans-led national anthem. "I don't think there was one person in the stands that wasn't singing."

Added interim coach Ron Rolston: "It was an amazing night. It was a great tribute for the people of Boston. I know for our guys and certainly the staff, it was really a great event to be part of."

Click below to hear audio from Ott, Flynn and Rolston. Plenty of talk about the Boston game and some about the keys to the Sabres somehow staying alive in the playoff race in the face of all their deals at the trade deadline and their injuries.

Steve Ott

Brian Flynn

Ron Rolston

Vanek on teams' stick salute: 'It was just to appreciate the people who came'

Teams
The teams salute the TD Garden crowd after the shootout's conclusion. (Getty Images)

By Mike Harrington

The stirring national anthem sung by the entire TD Garden crowd and the postgame, two-team stick salute to the fans seem to be the most lasting images from last night's amazing game in Boston.

Home teams routinely salute their fans after a win and the Bruins were no doubt going to do that last night, win or lose. How did the Sabres get involved? Most Boston players last night were crediting Thomas Vanek.

Vanek, along with alternate captains Steve Ott and Drew Stafford, broached the idea at the morning skate with team trainers, who took it to the Boston side. Vanek and Boston captain Zdeno Chara then met on the ice at the start of pregame warmup to finalize the plans.

"Even though they play in that city, it doesn't matter where you're from," Vanek said after today's brief practice in Amherst. "Buffalo, my case Europe or whatever. Everyone gets affected by it.

"We didn't think about the publicity it's getting. For us, it was just to appreciate the people who came. The atmosphere was unbelievable. It's a few hours away from something you have to not think about. It was good for everyone, a good few hours."

Continue reading "Vanek on teams' stick salute: 'It was just to appreciate the people who came'" »

Spin around the Web: World reacts to Sabres-Bruins game

Rene
Accompanied by the Boston Fire Departrment Honor Guard, Rene Rancourt kicks off the emotional national anthem. (Getty Images)


By Mike Harrington

 

If you haven't already done so, be sure to check John Vogl's post from earlier this morning with links to his reports from last night's game in Boston and videos of all the emotional moments surrounding the Sabres' shootout win.

Taking a quick spin around the Web today, I found several other stories that are good reads.

---In the Boston Globe, Buffalo booster and Wegmans lover Kevin Paul Dupont (whose wife is a WNYer) penned a terrific lead column on the scene. Wrote Dupont. "It was a night to remember, a hope to hold dear, only some 48 hours after the afternoon we all wish could be chased from memory."

---Anthem singer Rene Rancourt, a legend at the old and new Garden for 35 years, said in an interview this morning on WEEI Radio in Boston, that the anthem will rate as the most memorable one of his career. Bruins officials suggested the crowd-led anthem in part because Rancourt said he was concerned he wouldn't be able to sing the song all the way due to his emotions. But he was wondering if the crowd would sing for him. No issues. 

"It was wonderful," Rancourt said. "The sound was carrying me, lifting me up in the room. It was just something indescribable."

Continue reading "Spin around the Web: World reacts to Sabres-Bruins game" »

A look at the sights and sounds of Sabres-Bruins in Boston

By John Vogl

The Sabres will return to practice today, and their focus will be on Friday's season-altering matchup with the New York Rangers, the team they're chasing for the playoffs. Before that, it's worth reliving some of the Sabres' emotional visit to Boston on Wednesday for the first sporting event in the town since Monday's marathon bombing.

Fans and players chose to embrace the sporting diversion rather than worry about another act of terror.

“You can’t live in fear,” said 27-year-old Jason Baylor of Arcade, who traveled to Boston. “I don’t worry about the bombing. I go about my everyday life like I normally would.”

Continue reading "A look at the sights and sounds of Sabres-Bruins in Boston" »

Vote for the three stars

Live from TD Bank Garden: Sabres at Bruins

Hockey Canada names Lindy Ruff as coach of world championship team

By John Vogl

BOSTON -- Lindy Ruff is getting back behind the bench.

Hockey Canada has named the former Sabres coach as its bench boss for the world championships to be held May 3-19 in Finland and Sweden. Tampa Bay General Manager Steve Yzerman will be the executive director, while Doug Shedden will be Ruff's assistant coach.

Ruff, fired in February during his 16th year in Buffalo, coached Canada's 2009 world championship team to a silver medal. He was a gold medal-winning assistant at the 2010 Olympic Games.

The players will be chosen later and usually consist of NHL stars whose clubs failed to make the playoffs. The Sabres are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference.

Bruins, Sabres hope to ease pain in Boston; Miller to return to Buffalo net

By John Vogl

BOSTON -- The pain caused by the Boston Marathon explosions will linger for awhile. The Sabres and Bruins hope they can ease it for a couple of hours.

The teams will face off in TD Garden tonight in Boston's first sporting event since the act of terror that marred Monday's race. The Bruins are expected to memorialize the three people who died and 176 who were wounded when a pair of bombs exploded near the finish line of the legendary marathon.

"I’m sure it will be full of emotions after obviously what happened on Monday," Bruins forward Chris Kelly said after the morning skate. "Your thoughts and prayers go out to everyone that was affected, and hopefully we can go out and play hard for the city of Boston.

Continue reading "Bruins, Sabres hope to ease pain in Boston; Miller to return to Buffalo net" »

Bruins practice with 'heavy hearts' for visit by Sabres

Interviews from the Bruins' dressing room Tuesday by ESPNBoston.com

By Mike Harrington

The Boston Bruins practiced as normal today in Wilmington, Mass., for their game against the Sabres Wednesday night

"It was one of those days you practice with heavy hearts," said coach Claude Julien. "Obviously, we have a job to do and we still have to do our job, but our guys are proud of this city they represent, Boston, and as much as it was hard to really go out there today and give your all, I think our guys did a good job. Practice is over and our thoughts are back with those people affected by it."

Click here to read the full report by ESPNBoston.com

TSN says Lindy to get Team Canada gig

By Mike Harrington

There's no official word yet from Hockey Canada but it looks like Lindy Ruff will be coming out of the unemployment ranks for a few weeks this spring.

According to TSN, Ruff is going to be named head coach of Team Canada for the IIHF World Championships May 3-19 in Sweden and Finland. Ruff also coached Team Canada in 2009 and won a silver medal, and was an assistant to Mike Babcock at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics on the gold-medal club.

While heading to Zurich, Switzerland, in '09, Ruff spent long hours on the plane trying to connect to Derek Roy. The former Sabres center credited the trip with his renewed relationship to the coach and his improved play the next two years but, of course, the relationship fell apart by the end of last season and Roy was dealt to Dallas.

Canada finished fifth in the Worlds last season.

Sabres somber talking about Boston; ex-BC star Gerbe calls Marathon bombing 'embarrassing for our world'

By Mike Harrington

As you would imagine, some pretty raw emotions in the Sabres' locker room early this afternoon as they got set to head to Boston for Wednesday night's game against the Bruins, which will be the first in the city since Monday's bombing at the Boston Marathon.

Rookie defenseman Chad Ruhwedel was playing last week for Frozen Four team Mass-Lowell, a 30-minute commuter train ride away from downtown, and was shaking his head that he could have been at the site of the blasts had he not signed his pro contract and come to Buffalo on Saturday.

"It was just heartbreaking to see that," Ruhwedel said. "The Boston Marathon is huge. Marathon Monday is huge. People go out having fun all day long. It's a good time all day. For something like that to happen is devastating.

"If I didn't have this great opportunity, I'd probably would have been down there hanging out with my team. It hit me like that. I would have been somewhere in the vicinity."

Ruhwedel said he talked to friends, teammates and family members and everyone is OK in the wake of the blast. He said his teammates didn't see the actual explosions but were close by in the area when they happened on Boylston Street at 2:50 p.m.

Winger Nathan Gerbe, a former Hobey Baker runner-up at Boston College, had a look of similar shock.

"You know exactly where it is. I've walked past there I couldn't even tell you how many times," Gerbe said. "At times for yourself, you thank God for keeping you safe. But something like this happening is embarrassing for our world to affect innocent people and innocent children. Sad."

Gerbe said he's likely to just stay inside the Sabres' hotel the next couple days and not wander around Boston like he normally does.

"I think you're a little worried going into the city obviously," he said. "They don't know exactly why and how and who. You don't know the rhyme or reasons around it. Going into the city, I'm a little nervous and a little cautious I guess. I don't know if I'm going to go out walking around in the city or not. I'm probably just going to stay in the hotel and chill."

Steve Ott, who has a 5-year-old daughter, said he was touched deeply by the death of 8-year-old Martin Richard in the blast.

"It's horrific. Obviously life doesn't make sense sometimes," Ott said. "... The stories that are coming out of that incident are just horrible."

The Sabres figure to enter an emotionally charged atmosphere Wednesday in TD Garden, with the eyes of the nation likely to be on pregame ceremonies.

"It's going to be a little bit overwhelming to start the game with heavy hearts just as people," Ott said. "It's extremely disheartening to hear and see. ... I'm sure there will be a lot of mixed emotions. ... Everyone is going to be playing with heavy hearts. It's going to be very touching to start the game."

Click below to hear audio from Gerbe, Ruhwedel and Ott.

Nathan Gerbe

Chad Ruhwedel

Steve Ott

Darcy on Boston bombings: 'It unfortunately casts a different light on everything'

By Mike Harrington

3 p.m. update: The Sabres did, in fact, leave for Boston and Wednesday night's game against the Bruins is on as scheduled with a 7:30 telecast on NBC Sports Network. In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, the team's plan didn't change: A 3 p.m. flight today from Prior Aviation to Hanscom Field in suburban Bedford, Mass., and then a bus trip to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on the edge of Boston Common.

The hotel is about 1 1/2 miles from the blast sites on Boylston Street at the finish line of the marathon.

"It's not far from the Boston Library, Lenox Hotel," said general manager Darcy Regier, pointing out two landmarks in the city's Back Bay. "I looked at the map. We're very familiar with that area. It unfortunately casts a different light on everything."

Regier said his thoughts flashed back to a trip to training camp in South Carolina through New York City shortly after 9/11 in 2001. And to the days after the crash of Continental Flight 3407 in Clarence Center in 2009.

Continue reading "Darcy on Boston bombings: 'It unfortunately casts a different light on everything'" »

Sabres planning for Boston trip; Grigorenko on ice

By Mike Harrington

A quick Sabres update from First Niagara Center: Practice has opened as scheduled at 10:30 a.m., the normal time when the team is planning a flight. The plane to Boston is supposed to leave at 3 p.m. and there is no indication of any change in the schedule for tomorrow's game against the Bruins at 7:30 in TD Garden in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.

In roster news, Mikhail Grigorenko is on the ice at practice today but there is no decision yet from the Sabres whether he will be going to Boston or is simply here working out and getting ready to go to Rochester.

More updates, of course, after practice is complete.

NHL postpones Bruins-Sens game in wake of Marathon explosion; Sabres scheduled to leave for Boston tomorrow, play on Wednesday

By Mike Harrington

In the wake of the explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon course, the NHL has announced the postponement of tonight's game between the Ottawa Senators and Boston Bruins at TD Garden. There is no word on a makeup date for the game.

"The National Hockey League wishes to express its sympathy to all affected by the tragic events that took place in Boston earlier this afternoon," the league said in its official release.

The Sabres are scheduled to leave for Boston on a 3 p.m. flight Tuesday afternoon and are slated to play the Bruins Wednesday night at 7:30  The Sabres are scheduled to stay at their normal Boston hotel, the Ritz-Carlton by the Boston Common. It is about 1 3/4 miles from the explosion site on Boylston Street.

Continue reading "NHL postpones Bruins-Sens game in wake of Marathon explosion; Sabres scheduled to leave for Boston tomorrow, play on Wednesday" »

Enroth giving Sabres good dilemma in goal

By Mike Harrington

The Sabres are off today and will return to practice Tuesday morning before heading to Boston for Wednesday night's game against the Bruins. 

Interim coach Ron Rolston has a very interesting decision on his hands when it comes to his goaltending. Jhonas Enroth pitched a shutout Saturday against the Flyers and came back Sunday to backstop the 3-1 win over Tampa Bay.

Enroth is red-hot right now -- 4-0-1 in his last five starts with a 1.37 goals-against average and .958 save percentage. The Sabres basically have to win their last five games to have any shot of the playoffs, so how do you take him out now?

Continue reading "Enroth giving Sabres good dilemma in goal" »

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl | [email protected]

About Sabres Edge


Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington | [email protected]


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | [email protected]

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